Enhancing Rackspace Private Cloud with Red Hat CloudForms

There’s more to running an enterprise private cloud than deploying a self-service portal for users to create their own virtual machines. Fundamentally, enterprise IT has to decide how best to run its private cloud to be reliable and cost-effective while delivering value to its users.

That, of course, is at the core what Rackspace delivers to our customers through our managed OpenStack offerings: we assume the burden of cloud operations so customers can focus on business outcomes. But the requirements from both users and cloud administrators are growing.

Users have come to expect a well-operated private cloud and will turn to the public cloud if their expectations are not met. They now also expect their private clouds to provide capabilities such as the ability to provision and manage resources across multiple clouds and to manage multiple types of resources across those clouds.

A user may want to leverage an OpenStack private cloud, Amazon Web Services for their public cloud, and a VMware vSphere cluster for projects — and do so with minimal overhead. In turn, cloud administrators need their enterprise private cloud to deliver capabilities such as monitoring, capacity management, metering and chargeback.

To meet these growing requirements from our joint customers, Rackspace is announcing support for Red Hat CloudForms, an enterprise hybrid cloud management platform. Customers will now be able to deploy Red Hat CloudForms to manage their Rackspace Private Cloud powered by Red Hat OpenStack platform, or RPC-R. As Red Hat has described it, “Red Hat CloudForms provides essential enterprise-grade cloud management and automation capabilities that are not available in OpenStack.”

This is an important milestone for customers who want to deliver a complete private cloud solution to their users. For Rackspace and Red Hat, it’s a continuation of our commitment to empower our customers by enhancing capabilities in the core OpenStack project while also integrating value-added software when appropriate.

It would be worthwhile to provide some details on how we are supporting Red Hat CloudForms with the Rackspace managed Red Hat OpenStack Platform offering. We’re taking a phased approach to including new technologies with RPC-R. Our philosophy is to deliver these enhanced capabilities to our customers in a timely fashion while working to comfortably move from limited support to fully managed services. Here’s what you can expect in terms of Red Hat CloudForms support with RPC-R, starting today:

  • A dedicated server, which Rackspace can provide, will be required for running Red Hat CloudForms with RPC-R.
  • Rackspace will install Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 on the dedicated server and deploy Red Hat CloudForms using Ansible playbooks. The playbooks will also connect CloudForms to the specific RPC-R instance, done according to recommended practices.
  • Once deployed, customers will be able to use CloudForms for metering, chargeback and capacity management of their RPC-R instance.
  • Additional Red Hat CloudForms capabilities can be configured by customers on their own or as part of a professional services engagement.
  • For now, Rackspace will provide limited support which includes the following:
    • Managing the dedicated server if it has been provided by Rackspace.
    • If the CloudForms service fails, Rackspace would restart the service and troubleshoot issues related to the service failure.
    • If the CloudForms database fails, Rackspace would recover it from backups that are configured and taken as part of the CloudForms deployment.
    • If CloudForms is unrecoverable or if there is an issue that cannot be resolved, Rackspace would redeploy using Ansible and import any relevant data still available from Ceilometer.
    • Support for Red Hat CloudForms itself will be provided by Red Hat if Rackspace engineers have determined that it is a CloudForms issue.

With this announcement, enterprise customers can now use the power of Red Hat CloudForms in conjunction with a private cloud that is managed and supported by two leading OpenStack vendors in the industry. Over time, customers can expect that Rackspace will offer fully managed services for technologies such as CloudForms to help make it easier for customers to consume their private clouds.

Visit Rackspace to learn more about our managed OpenStack offerings, including support for Red Hat CloudForms.

Kenneth Hui was a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer and Cloud Solutions Architect at Rackspace. Ken has 20+ years of experience in the IT industry and is passionate about helping customers with their cloud computing journey. He lives in New York City where he can indulge in his love of great food from all around the world. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kenhuiny.

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